Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

What Is It?

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries. It is the most common serious infection among young women, with approximately 1 million new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. It usually affects sexually active women during their childbearing years. About one in every seven women receives treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease at some point in her life.

Pelvic inflammatory disease is the most common preventable cause of infertility in the United States. The infection can cause tissue inside the fallopian tubes to become scarred, which can damage the fallopian tubes or block them completely. The more often a woman gets this infection, the greater her risk of becoming infertile. The risk doubles with each bout of the disease.

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a major cause of hospitalization in young women. It leads to thousands of surgeries due to complications from the infection. Researchers believe most cases develop from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), infections that are spread through sexual contact. The two diseases most likely to lead to pelvic inflammatory disease are gonorrhea and chlamydia. Without treatment, the same bacteria that cause these diseases also can cause pelvic inflammatory disease.

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